Tikorangi notes: the surprise success of dried persimmons

016Persimmons. These are a glorious sight in autumn but more decorative than useful here. Ours is an old astringent variety – mouth-puckeringly so until it is super ripe and then I really only like the jelly-like centre segments. We don’t eat many of them. I tried buying the fruit of the non-astringent recent introductions, which can be eaten at the crisp stage like an apple. I was a little underwhelmed – I preferred apples.
015I recently read that persimmon fruit dry well and even the astringent types can be picked before fully ripe, sliced and dried and they will lose their astringency. Truly, we were very sceptical. But it works. It really does. The first batch I sliced, skin and all, and dried on a rack over our woodburner. It was a bit hot for them and the skin was a little tough. This second batch I used a sharp knife to remove the skin – which wasn’t difficult – and then sliced and put in the oven on fan bake at a very low temperature for several hours. They aren’t fully dried so I will store them in small packages in the deep freeze lest they go mouldy in our humid climate.
018 (2)If you like dried fruit or eat muesli, they will make an excellent addition. I plan on using them as a substitute for dried apricots. They don’t taste the same but they will fill the same role. As with any dried food, they shrivel away to very little. I doubt that my forays into dried persimmons are going to make much of an inroad to our total crop – I won’t be drying hundreds of them and there is a large crop on the tree. But we are always interested in adding variety to our diet and dried persimmons take little effort to utilise a crop that we would otherwise waste.

If you want to know more about persimmons, I wrote about them in a Plant Collector back in 2013.

Persimmons with Dahlia Orchid. How could I resist?

Persimmons with Dahlia Orchid. How could I resist?

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2 thoughts on “Tikorangi notes: the surprise success of dried persimmons

  1. Bev Fothergill

    We love our Fuju Persimmons. It’s true the odd one lacks flavour, but if they ripen to a rich colour and you can feel just a wee bit of ‘give’, they are delicious peeled and eaten in slices. Chopped they make a superb Chutney (see Rowan Bishop’s ‘Vegetarian Kitchen’) blended with dates and tamarind.
    We live near the coast in Bay of Plenty, and can grow many sub-tropical. Maybe our climate makes a difference.
    I have tried some grown in Nelson. They are altogether different with 3 big stones inside and no flavour to speak of. Fuju is all flesh, no stones.
    I dry them in the dehydrator and like to make a fruit salad with other dried fruits; apples, pears, kiwifruit all from our trees, and some prunes, reconstituted in apple juice.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Oh that is interesting, but I am not sure that persimmons need a hot climate. Being deciduous, and being grown extensively in Japan suggests they are reasonably hardy. It must be a poor selection that has stones – not struck that. But maybe I need to try Fuyu again.

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